Last week Nike released an ad for its 30th-anniversary campaign and to everyone's surprise, one of its faces was ex-49'er, Colin Kaepernick.
For anyone living under a rock, Colin Kaepernick is an NFL quarterback. In 2016 he was released by his team, the San Francisco 49'ers and shut out of the NFL after protesting police brutality on the field. During the national anthem, Kaepernick refused to stand but instead knelt in solidarity with those black lives lost as a result of racism, and racial injustice. His single act of civil disobedience was enough to (so far) cost him his career as an NFL quarterback, and start a debate on what the American flag really stands for.
Now, in a perfect world, social inequalities simply wouldn't exist, but in a maybe slightly decent world, one would assume that the average person would have no problem standing behind anyone and anything trying to make the world a fairer and nicer place.
Nope! We're instead going to pretend Kaepernick's kneel was a random and unprovoked ass-shot to the nation's armed forces and veterans. Ironically, the flag is actually a symbol of freedom, which Kaepernick was exercising as he knelt. But that really just does to show you how prevalent ignorance and racism is in a country that calls itself the greatest in the world.
For two years, Colin Kaepernick seemingly had no job as a result of his protest. Other than not backing down from his political views, Kaepernick was shut out by every team in the league and lost all of his endorsements. Protesting that this country is indeed still racist and that black people are treated the most unfairly, was enough to have racist white folk (and Ben Carson) dust off the 'ol MAGA hat.
I find it hard to believe that we are truly disgusted at Kaepernick's "disrespect" of the flag. He hasn't kneeled during a national anthem in two years...he's just speaking out against inequality at this point. So, again, what's the real problem?
After Nike released their ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, black and white folks were shook, but for two very different and problematic reasons.
Now, watching angry white people freak over nothing is one of my favorite past times. Honestly, pass me some kettle corn and Raisinets and I'm good. This time, they have taken to the streets to burn their Nike gear and there's honestly not enough popcorn in the world to help me marvel at the fact that people think they are upsetting Nike by burning the overpriced shoes they have already paid for.
What confuses me more than white folks reaction is black-folks reaction. Now, I agree, it's great that Nike is giving Kaepernick a platform and some coins, but I'm not exactly ready to go drop all my monies off at the nearest Nike outlet. Let's get one thing straight. Nike is a corporation. Its goal is to make as much money as they can by selling as many swooshes as they can. Nike didn't just wake up one day and become socially conscious. It woke up and realized far more black people will buy their crap if they stick Kaepernick in an ad. They then weighed that against the number of white people who would burn their products, (but lowkey buy more New Balance anyway) and realized it was a great way to make money off of the backs of the black community.
Dear Black folk,
Please don't allow corporations to convince you that they have socialist or even liberal political standings. Corporations are and will always be capitalist organizations. There's no way they can't be. Capitalism in America rose off of the backs of slaves and still gains power and wealth off of poor and disenfranchised communities.
Now, don't take this to mean that I'm saying we should stop buying Nike products. All I'm saying is, don't politically aline yourself behind brands just because you think they share the same values as you. They don't. Nike, in particular, gives a 30% discount to law enforcement, and I personally don't see how that lines up with wanting to hold police officers accountable for murdering black people. But at the end of the day, if you like Nike products, buy them because you like them, not because you think they are in line with your belief systems because I promise you, they aren't.
You will wind up very disappointed (as well as naked and hungry) when you start doing research to really find out what these companies support and don't support.